Panel of speakers: Fatema Ahmed (deputy editor, Apollo), Mat Collishaw (artist), Shoair Mavlian (director, Photoworks) and Bill Sherman (director, Warburg Institute)
Most museums have been closed for several months this year, and many are still to reopen. What is clear, however, is that they continue to give us much to think about even when we cannot visit them. Apollo, in partnership with the Warburg Institute, presents ‘Museums of the Mind’ – a series of discussions about how museums reflect and refract art forms and other fields that may not traditionally have been considered their preserve. In the coming months we hope to cover everything from poetry, cinema and dance to science, sport and shopping – questioning how these encounters ask us to reimagine both the museum and the discipline on display.
We begin with photography and the museum. For a technology – or is it an art form? – that is roughly the same age as the modern museum as we know it, photography has had a sometimes fraught relationship with the gallery. What does it mean to show family snaps or graphic images of war in formal settings? Are the pages of a book, or the surface of a screen, often more appropriate than a wall? How have photographs of artworks and their display influenced how we think about specific works – and about art history and the history of collecting more generally? And does display in the museum put an end to the debate about whether photography is art – or does it simply raise new questions?